Novak Djokovic has opened up on his biggest goals this season after being forced to miss Indian Wells and Miami. The world No 2 was denied his request to enter the US unvaccinated to compete in the two tournaments, and now has his sights set on the upcoming three Grand Slams. But Djokovic admitted that Rafael Nadal will be a threat as he declared his rival as the “favorite” for the French Open.
Djokovic has been unable to compete in the first two Masters events of the season after his vaccine waiver request was denied. The Serb was initially hoping that something could be resolved in time for the Miami Open but has since withdrawn and is now readjusting his goals after giving up on trying to play the sunshine double.
The 35-year-old’s next tournament will be the Monte Carlo Masters, and he is ready to prepare for the clay swing with a view of winning all the remaining Grand Slams – starting with the French Open. “Clay season is starting that’s probs the most challenging surface for me but I grew up playing on that surface so I like playing on that surface,” he told CNN.
And Djokovic made it very clear that his focus was the biggest events, adding: “Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open. Those are the three biggest priorities this year.” But the 22-time Major champion did admit that Nadal would be the favorite in Paris instead of him.
Novak Djokovic said Rafael Nadal was the favorite at the French Open
“I’ll do everything I possibly can to be able to build my form in order to be peaking in Paris,” he said. “Nadal obviously King of Clay, he’s the number one favourite there without a doubt.”
Nadal himself is also currently sidelined although it is for different reasons. The Spaniard has not played since injuring his leg in his Australian Open second-round loss and is also targeting a return in Monte Carlo but is yet to address his return, with various tournament directors reporting good news in his recovery process.
Novak Djokovic will be back in action on the clay
As for Djokovic, the Serb said he was more motivated than ever both on and off the tennis court despite being banned from competing yet again. “To be honest, not at all,” he said when asked whether the vaccine issues affected his enthusiasm for competing.
“On the contrary, I am as enthusiastic as ever, as motivated as ever for the sport, for my family, for my foundation, for all the projects and everything I’m doing off the court, for the PTPA. There’s a lot that I can be and I should be and I am excited about and I just don’t want to regret anything.”